A driver who led police on a high-speed chase in 1999, smashing into a family car and badly injuring a young boy near San Marcos, did not void his insurance policy by acting in a dangerous manner, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Nationwide Insurance had claimed that it did not have to pay the accident victims because its customer, Richard Gibbons, violated the policy by engaging in a reckless and prolonged chase all but guaranteeed to end in a horrific accident.
In an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court correctly ruled that Gibbons would have voided his policy only if he intentionally hit the car. The evidence showed he tried to avoid the collision which left a 7-year-old boy comatose for a week, in the hospital for a month, and in physical therapy for five years.
Justice Willett, writing for the majority, pointed out that Nationwide's position would jeopardize insurance coverage for common accidents, such as when a driver intentionally runs a red light or speeds to save time.
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